So it looks as though we are doomed to fight a couple of fundamental political battles all over again. It is something like the mythical Norse paradise of Valhalla where those who have died bravely in battle spend eternity fighting, dying, and being resurrected over and over to do it all again.

Sort of like the current political struggles over the great issues of free trade and socialism.

For a while, it looked like contemporary thought had prevailed. The British had given socialism a fair trial in the years after World War Two. They nationalized everything from health care to airlines to steel mills. Their economy soon became sclerotic as unions and bureaucracies blocked commerce and fresh thinking. Even the Beatles felt like they were overtaxed.

Then Margaret Thatcher came along and the nation that had given the world Adam Smith and David Ricardo returned to the faith and prospered. But people can take only so much of good thing and now the Brits have voted for something called “Brexit,” which will have their nation leaving the the European Union. The degree of separation is still unclear. But it is not a good moment for free trade and open markets.

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